Wednesday, 15 April 2020
By Felicity Rusk
Global pork production in 2020 is expected to reach 94.3 million tonnes, 7% less than in the previous year according to the latest outlook from the USDA. This is due to a lower output from nations affected by African Swine Fever (ASF).
The latest estimate is 2% lower than their previous forecast. Chinese production has been revised down by 6%, with the nation still struggling to recover from ASF. It is likely the outbreak of COVID-19 has only slowed progress in this area, based on reports from Rabobank and other agencies. The USDA now expects Chinese production in 2020 to be 20% lower than in 2019, which was itself down 21% from 2018.
The key exporting nations, including the US, EU (including UK) and Brazil, are expecting to see growth in production this year. Strong export demand from Asian countries has provided producers with the incentive to expand herds. However, this is not enough to compensate for the decline expected in China and other nations affected by ASF.
With lower expectations of Chinese production, imports have been revised up 4% from the previous forecast to 3.85 million tonnes. This is almost 60% more than in the previous year. In January and February alone, the nation imported twice as much pork and offal than in the same period last year.
Elsewhere, import estimates for many other nations, such as Mexico, South Korea, Colombia and the US, have been revised down from the previous forecast. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the foodservice sector has all but closed in many nations. As such, demand from this sector has dissipated, which will have a knock-on effect on import demand. Furthermore, in the longer-term, weaker economic growth is also likely to affect import demand negatively.
As such, overall imports were revised down by 4% from the previous forecast to 9.6 million tonnes.
Despite this, overall exports were revised up slightly (1%), driven mainly by an upwards revision to US exports. This is likely a reflection of the nation capitalising on the expected increased demand from the Chinese market. The USDA does not forecast trade for every country, so total import and export trends can vary a little.
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